A ship that sank in the port town of Vasco in the South Goa state more than 50 years ago is attracting divers from all across the nation. The SS Rita, which was hauling rail tracks from Gujarat to Goa, went down near Grand Island probably in the 1960s. The ship is thought to have capsized after colliding with the rocks, although no records of the occurrence exist. The wreckage is near the Zuari River’s bottom.
“There is a lot of interest among tourists in seeing the shipwreck. It is one of the seven diving sites near the island,” said Skandan Warrier, a former Navy man who runs a scuba diving training institute.
Few other shipwrecks can be studied in the same way as the SS Rita can. Divers who visit the wreck say it’s a fantastic sight. The ship’s winches, bow, davit (a crane used to lower boats), portholes, and staircase are mostly intact. The wreckage of the ship is now an artificial reef, lying underwater at depths ranging from seven to thirteen and fourteen meters. There are seven dive sites in the region surrounding Grand Island. According to Anthony Fernandes, a local fisherman, interest in scuba diving is growing among Indian tourists.
“After the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen more and more domestic tourists giving diving a try,” he said.
There are two additional ships known to have sunk in the same location, but they are in deeper portions of the seabed and are impossible to reach. Both wrecks are positioned 18 to 20 meters below the surface of the ocean, making it difficult for inexperienced divers to reach them.